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Originally published February 14 2011

China stockpiles tens of thousands of tons of rare earth minerals

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Touch-screen smart phones, laptop computers, flat screen televisions, hybrid car batteries, vehicle parts, wind turbines -- these and many other high tech products require certain rare earth minerals in order to function. And according to recent reports, China, the world leader in the rare earth minerals market, is stockpiling tens of thousands of tons of these highly-sought-after resources in its strategic reserves in order to control global supply.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese government officials are working hard to gain tighter control of the rare earth minerals market, which is seeing many new players coming onto the scene as demand increases and supply diminishes. Though China currently controls roughly 95 percent of the global trade for the 17 rare earth minerals that make up the market, its actual earth supply of these rare earth minerals composes only about 36 percent of the world's reserves.

While other nations like Australia that have rare earth mineral reserves begin to enter the market with their own mining operations, the Chinese government is consolidating the industry, buying up rare earth mines, cutting export quotas, and raising export taxes, all of which will drive up prices and give China a strategic advantage. In other words, China plans to monopolize the entire global supply of rare earth minerals and eliminate any competition.

But if China succeeds and controls the rare earth minerals market, the global supply, at least as far as China's exports are concerned, could be eliminated by 2012. According to a recent report, China plans to simply stop exporting these valuable metals by 2012, a move that will cripple modern technologies used by many countries around the world, including in the U.S. (

Since rare earth minerals contain unique electromagnetic and conductive properties not found in other elements, they are both highly valuable and absolutely vital for today's modern technologies to function, including many "green" technologies like solar panels and wind turbines.

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